The Greater Boston housing market is hot with rising prices as we enter into the fall of 2021. The sky-high prices, combined with a historic scarcity of housing supply in this region, reflect a sizzling seller's market. But we are starting to see some price adjustments, and some inventory is starting to sit on the market for a little bit longer. Buyers are grabbing whatever they can find, especially single-family homes in suburban towns, because they are desperate for space and are aided by low interest rates.
The scorching hot Greater Boston housing market showed signs of cooling last month, as house sales fell for the first time in 12 months in August, and median selling prices for single-family homes and condos fell or stayed flat for a second consecutive month. It shows that some buyers are taking a step back to reassess the market. While a slower pace of sales is to be expected over the summer, property prices increased a robust 8% on an annual basis last month as inventory remained limited in contrast to buyer demand.
Single-family house sales fell by 2.4 percent year over year in August, falling from 1,590 units sold in August 2020 to 1,552 homes sold this month. Monthly house sales volume also decreased, falling 8.4 percent from 1,695 properties sold in July. August was the tenth-most busy month on record for Greater Boston house sales.
Despite the decline in buyer interest, selling prices continued to rise on an annual basis in August, although more slowly than in previous months. In the single-family home market, the median selling price increased 8.4 percent, from $719,500 in August 2020 to $780,000 last month, while the median selling price for condominiums rose 7.8 percent from $592,500 last August to $639,000 in August 2021.
Suffolk County is a county in Massachusetts and consists of 22 cities. The county seat is Boston, the state capital and the largest city in Massachusetts. Realtor.com's August 2021 report shows that the median list price of homes in Suffolk County, Massachusetts was $775K, flat year-over-year. The median listing price per square foot was $628.
The median sale price was $712,500. Homes in Suffolk County, MA sold for approximately the asking price on average in August 2021. Ideally, a buyer would prefer a sale to list price ratio that’s closer to 90% whereas a seller would always prefer scenarios that can yield a ratio of 100% or higher.
- There are 22 cities in Suffolk County.
- South Boston has a median listing price of $919K, making it the most expensive city.
- Chelsea is the most affordable city, with a median listing price of $519K.
- City of Boston has a median listing price of $799,000, flat year-over-year.
- The median listing price per square foot in Boston is $688.
- The median sale price in Boston is $725K.
- Homes in Boston, MA sold for approximately the asking price on average in August 2021.
- There are 65 neighborhoods in Boston.
- Beacon Hill has a median listing price of $2.6M, making it the most expensive neighborhood.
- Commonwealth is the most affordable neighborhood, with a median listing price of $482K.
Ideally, a buyer would prefer a sale to list price ratio that’s closer to 90% whereas a seller would always prefer scenarios that can yield a ratio of 100% or higher.
Boston Housing Market Trends 2021 – Most Recent Stats
There’s been some softening in the market for large, high-end single-family homes and properties in the urban core with small living areas and no outdoor space. This is a common trend across the nation. People are looking for more space and accelerating long-planned moves to the suburbs. Here's a rundown of the Boston Housing Market Report released by the “Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).” The data includes all 64 towns within the GBAR jurisdictional area.
GREATER BOSTON HOUSING MARKET STATISTICS FOR AUGUST
- August 2021's sales total of 1,552 single-family houses was the tenth highest for the month and represented a 2.4 percent drop in volume from August 2020's sales total of 1,590 homes.
- Additionally, the median sales price hit a new August record high of $780,000.
- It is an increase of 8.4 percent above the August 2020 median sales price of $719,500.
- Months Supply of Inventory of single-family homes declined by 25% from last year to 0.9.
- Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) is a calculation that quantifies the relationship between supply and demand in a housing market.
- Historically, six months of supply is associated with moderate price appreciation, and a lower level of months' supply tends to push prices up more rapidly.
- Meanwhile, in the more affordable condo market sales remained on an upswing.
- August was the fifth-most active month on record in Greater Boston, with 1,299 condominiums sold.
- It is a 13.4 percent increase over the 1,146 units sold in August 2020.
- The median sales price of condominiums rose to a new monthly high of $639,000.
- It is a 7.8% rise over the August 2020 median sales price of $592,500.
- Months Supply of Inventory of condominiums declined by 34.8% from last year to 1.5.
Boston City Housing Market Statistics
- The city of Boston is also a seller's market owing to a tight housing supply.
- The Months Supply of Inventory has dropped by -30% YTY to 1.4 months in August.
- The median price of a single-family home is $811,000.
- It increased by 17.6% YTY but dropped by 1.9% on a month-to-month basis.
- Closed sales of single-family homes surged by 27.8% YTY but dropped by 17.9% on a month-to-month basis.
- Pending Sales decreased by 6.8% YTY but remaind flat on a month-to-month basis.
- Active Listings decreased by -10.4% YTY.
- New Listings also decreased by -11.0% YTY.
Boston Rental Market Trends
The Zumper Boston Metro Area Report analyzed active listings last month across 15 metro cities to show the most and least expensive cities and cities with the fastest growing rents. The Massachusetts one bedroom median rent was $1,969 last month. Cambridge was the most expensive city in the metro with one bedrooms priced at $2,580 while Haverhill was the most affordable city with one bedrooms priced at $1,420.
Where are rents declining in the Boston Metro Housing Market?
- Medford rent had the largest dip, falling 12.2% since this time last year.
- Beverly was second with rent dropping 10.4%.
- Malden saw rent decline 7.2%, making it third.
The Fastest Growing Cities For Rents in Boston Metro Area (Y/Y%)
- Lawrence had the fastest growing rent, up 18.7% since this time last year.
- Melrose saw rent climb 12.2%, making it second.
- Cambridge was third with rent increasing 9.3%.
The Fastest Growing Cities For Rents in Boston Metro Area (M/M%)
- Melrose & Framingham rent had the largest monthly growth rates, both up 4.9%.
- Waltham & Boston saw rents both increase 4.8% last month, making them tied for the second fastest growing.
- Cambridge was third with rent climbing 3.2%.
Boston Real Estate Market Forecast 2021-2022 (Latest Projections)
What are the Boston real estate market predictions for 2021 & 2022? Let us look at the price trends recorded by Zillow (a real estate database company) over the past few years. Since 2012, the median home value in Boston has appreciated by nearly 88.8% (Zillow Home Value Index). ZHVI represents the whole housing stock and not just the homes that list or sell in a given month. The typical home value of homes in Boston is currently $693,096.
It indicates that 50 percent of all housing stock in the area is worth more than $693,096 and 50 percent is worth less (adjusting for seasonal fluctuations). In Aug 2020, the typical value of homes in Boston was around $648,000. Home values have gone up 7.4% over the past year. Boston is a seller’s real estate market which means that there exists a limited supply of homes in Boston, and buyers are forced to compete often resulting in higher prices and/or quicker sales that tend to benefit sellers.
There are fewer homes for sale than there are active buyers in the marketplace. This, however, is computed monthly. Similar growth has been recorded by NeighborhoodScout.com. Their data also shows that Boston real estate appreciated 90.67% over the last ten years. Its annual appreciation rate has been averaging at 6.67% — more than the national average. This figure puts Boston in the top 10% nationally for real estate appreciation.
- During the latest twelve months, the Boston appreciation rate was nearly 5.71%,
- In the latest quarter, the appreciation rate was nearly 2.13%,
- The quarterly rate equates to an annual appreciation rate of 6.23%.
- This figure also predicts that home prices in this region are expected to increase in the next twelve months.
In a balanced real estate market, it would take about five to six months for the supply to dwindle to zero. In terms of months of supply, Boston can become a buyer’s real estate market if the supply increases to more than five months of inventory. And that’s not going to happen. The total inventory of single-family homes has dropped to critically low levels (1.3 months) in July 2021.
Here is Zillow's home price forecast for Boston and Massachusetts. The forecast is until July 2022 and you can expect to see very strong home price gains.
- The typical home value of homes in Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro is $592,940.
- Home values have gone up 16.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 11.2% in the next year.
- Boston home values have gone up 7.4% over the past year and the latest forecast is that they will continue to rise due to a big gap in supply and demand.
- The typical value of homes in Suffolk County is $660,541, up 7.9% over the past year.
- Massachusetts home values have gone up 18.4% over the past year and will continue to rise over the next twelve months.
Real estate market forecasts given in this article are just an educated guess and should not be considered financial advice. Real estate prices are deeply cyclical and much of it is dependent on factors you can’t control. Many variables could potentially impact the value of a home in Boston in 2021 (or any other market) such as big changes in the distressed, new-construction, or luxury home segments. There are also a wide variety of economic and political factors that can and do impact real estate markets. Most of these variables are difficult to predict in advance.
Boston Real Estate Investment: Should You Invest in Boston?
Successfully investing in real estate — whether you are in Boston or anywhere else in the world — is all about correctly timing the market. Knowing when to enter the real estate market can often be a bit of a challenge. Should you invest in Boston real estate? Is Boston a Good Place For Real Estate Investment? Many real estate investors have asked themselves if buying a property in Boston is a good investment? You need to drill deeper into local trends if you want to know what the market holds for real estate investors and buyers in 2021.
Boston is a fairly walkable city in Suffolk County with a population of approximately 700,000 people, making the Boston housing market rather large on its own. It is a thriving city, which makes it the best location to buy an investment property at any point in time including the present. Since it contains around 80% of all residents of Massachusetts, it is certainly the first place that people choose to research, when they want to invest in the state.
The broader Boston Metropolitan Area or Greater Boston is home to more than four million people. Boston real estate has been one of the best long-term real estate investments in the nation. The Boston real estate market is dominated by rental properties and Airbnb is a great pick for starters. The city is a wonderful place to call home. People want to live in the city, yet the number of new homes being built is relatively low.
Boston's real estate market is vibrant, and plenty of buyers are offering more than the asking price when they love a property. Throughout the Greater area of Boston, numerous investment properties are waiting to be revitalized by a wise investor. But for most people, Boston is a high-priced real estate market, though it isn’t as expensive as Washington DC, San Francisco, or New York City.
Greater Boston is still an expensive place to buy a house, but the years of relentless price increase may be nearing an end. It’s too soon to know if this trend is a blip or if the Boston housing market heading towards some stability. However, new investors should always consider cheaper markets for investment. Because of the large number of students, college and university faculty, it is a no-brainer for savvy investors to invest in a rental property in Boston.
Rental property in Boston is guaranteed to get a lot of demand from tenants – whether an apartment or a condo or a single-family home. Any investment property is likely to get rented out fast. Airbnb rentals are one of the best options for real estate investment in Boston. Let’s find out more about it.
Boston has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the country for many years. It is not just an expensive real estate market on the East Coast. It is one of the few in the region not expected to see significant declines. And there are areas we can expect to see significant appreciation due to the sheer demand for affordable housing with easy access to major arteries or public transit.
Boston is an old, East Coast city. We’ve already mentioned the height law and the challenges faced by getting anything approved even with the mayor behind it. Unfortunately, Boston’s entrenched bureaucracy limits the redevelopment of large garages and other major projects that could bring thousands of units to the Boston real estate market.
If it takes ten years (or more) for the Boston Harbor Garage to be redeveloped, and it is far from the only project on hold, then you can be certain to see high returns on any redevelopment project that creates more housing units within existing buildings. Whether this is converting warehouses into lofts or single-family homes into multi-family housing, if you don’t face major roadblocks, you’ll see a great return on the investment.
If you are looking to make a profit, you don’t want to buy the most expensive property on the Boston real estate market and expect to make a good profit on rents. Perhaps you are looking for a slightly different hold-over, an investment property in Boston that you might move into or sell at retirement in the future. Either way, knowing your profit potential and purpose is the first thing to consider.
Investing in Boston real estate will fetch you good returns in the long term as the home prices in Boston have been trending up year-over-year. Let’s take a look at the number of positive things going on in the Boston real estate market which can help investors who are keen to buy an investment property in this city.
Boston is Attractive to Millennials
Millennials are a market real estate agents want to cater to since they’re buying homes in mass. And Boston is considered one of the cities Millennials love. The challenge for Millennials is affording a market where the median home costs around $740,000. Yet the demand from young and old alike means there’s very little inventory, much less housing stock considered affordable.
Boston isn’t just attracting young people from across the country – it is also attracting immigrations from around the world. The city has seen population growth every year since 2004 in part because of the influx of immigrants attracted to healthcare, biotech, and educational jobs here.
Millennials and older adults alike are choosing to spend more on an apartment, condo, or house to avoid spending hours each week commuting. It is seen as an investment in their quality of life. This explains why downtown Boston is seeing price increases far higher than the rest of the Boston metro area.
Downtown enclaves sell for much more per square foot than properties at the edge of town or in the suburbs; the price hit a thousand dollars a square foot recently. That’s expensive for the U.S. but half the price you’d pay for a comparable apartment in New York City. Ironically, the high price of real estate in NYC explains why many financial firms are expanding in the relatively cheaper city of Boston, home of the mutual fund.
Boston's Job Market Will Keep People Coming
Boston was ranked the best city in the U.S. for startups. A large number of world-class universities provide a large number of skilled workers, many of whom work in medicine, finance, and biotech. The constant creation of new jobs will continue to attract residents and help the city retain the ones it already has. The economy is dominated by services, which usually pay high wages and attract more and more job seekers. All these factors have created a hot housing market in Boston, dictated by both home buyers and tenants.
Guaranteed Real Estate Appreciation
Strong demand plus limited inventory and limited space to grow will guarantee appreciation of any property you buy in the Boston real estate market. Prices are going to appreciate in 2021 by 6-8%. This is only a continuation of the steady property increases seen since the 2008 property crash. This is partly because the market is so built-up already that land prices are high.
Then there’s the fact it can take a long time to get approval to build up. Boston’s mayor is facing flak for wanting to waive the building height rule just once. Ironically, the Boston shadow law that limits the height of buildings in the Boston housing market has the greatest impact on the downtown areas where people most want to see a tall apartment and condo towers built.
The increase in mortgage interest rates is putting pressure on home buyers, limiting what they can afford. This in turn is leading home builders to cut prices on new properties. According to the Washington Post, Boston home builders are cutting the price of properties on the market by 6%. If you have financing or the cash to invest in the Boston real estate market, you can’t pass up a deal like this.
Boston's Rental Market
The Boston real estate market and its environs include a whopping hundred universities, colleges, and trade schools. There are more than 150,000 college students in Boston and Cambridge alone. You could buy properties across the Boston real estate market and cater to students, and your market is so diverse that you’ll always see demand. Boston is landlord-friendly compared to markets like NYC. There is no limit on late fees.
You don’t have to provide notice before entering the apartment. The state doesn’t require rental licenses to become a landlord. There aren’t laws regarding re-keying or pets. A written rental agreement is only mandatory if your tenant is staying for more than 12 months. Evictions are allowed if they are not paying the rent, violating the lease, or breaking the law. You can start evictions two weeks after the non-payment of rent. Since evictions can take weeks, screen tenants well for any property in the Boston housing market.
Rents in the inner Boston Core hit 2800 a month. All those grad students, young single professionals, and highly paid power couples are bidding up the limited housing stock available. If you can find a reasonably affordable property in the Boston real estate market and convert it into multiple units or a more upscale clientele, you’ll enjoy significant cash flow from the property. Any future real estate investor in Boston should also have in mind that the expected rental income for both traditional rentals and Airbnb rentals is high.
The combined effect of high property prices and high rental income leads to a decent return on investment for Boston rental properties. The taxes here are high compared to the U.S. average but lower than several other states in the area. The income tax rate is much lower than in New York, and property taxes are far lower than in New Jersey. Therefore, you’ll clear more here than some of the other large Northeast markets.
Luckily for real estate investors in Boston who are interested in Airbnb rentals, they are fully legal in the Boston real estate market and are not even taxed at the moment. Recent discussions among Massachusetts lawmakers failed to result in an agreement on taxes to be charged on short-term rentals.
Latest Rental Market Statistics: According to RENTCafe, 51% of the households in Boston are renter-occupied, which is a significant population. More than 95% of the apartments fall in the range of $2,000 or more, which shows how high are the rents in Boston. As a rental property investor, it should be on your list of due diligence. Do the math and find out the best neighborhood & property that suits your investment goals.
The average size for a Boston, MA apartment is 812 square feet with studio apartments are the smallest and most affordable. 1-bedroom apartments are closer to the average, while 2-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom apartments offer more generous square footage.
As we write this, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Boston, MA is currently $2,600. This is a 17% increase compared to the previous year. Over the past month, the average rent for a studio apartment in Boston increased by 17% to $2,215. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment increased by 9% to $2,600, and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment remained flat.
- Two-bedroom apartment rents average $2,800 (a 4% increase from last year).
- Three-bedroom apartment rents average $3,000 (a 0% increase from last year).
- Four-bedroom apartment rents average $3,600 (a 0% increase from last year).
Boston Investment Properties: Where To Buy?
In any real estate investment, cash flow is gold. Boston is the top market where real estate investments are safe and have high rates of return. The Boston housing market sees steady population growth, faces limited supply, and can’t go vertical.
This means that those who invest in the Boston real estate market will see decent cash flow from nearly any property and guaranteed appreciation. Allston is an excellent neighborhood to buy an investment property in Boston as the median property price is well below the city level. Airbnb rentals are the best option for real estate investing in Boston.
Good cash flow from Boston investment properties means the investment is, needless to say, profitable. A bad cash flow, on the other hand, means you won’t have money on hand to repay your debt. Therefore, finding the best investment property in Boston in a growing neighborhood would be key to your success.
As with any real estate purchase, act wisely. Evaluate the specifics of the Boston housing market at the time you intend to purchase. When looking for the best real estate investments in Boston, you should focus on neighborhoods with relatively high population density and employment growth. Both of them translate into high demand for housing.
There are 59 neighborhoods in Boston. As we write this, Back Bay has a median listing price of $1.4M, making it the most expensive neighborhood. Commonwealth is the most affordable neighborhood, with a median listing price of $467K.
Some of the popular neighborhoods in Boston are Cambridge, Medford, East Boston, West Roxbury, Allston, Dedham, South End, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, South Boston, Charlestown, Braintree, North End, and Hyde Park.
The best neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area for real estate investment are relatively affordable. They will offer a good rate of appreciation because of the influx of people moving there for affordable housing. They'll offer strong and rising rents in 2021 and beyond.
Roxbury has seen roughly 125 percent inflation over the past five years, a full 25 percent more price inflation than Boston as a whole. This is because Roxbury remains a relatively affordable area attracting people who are being priced out of rapidly gentrifying Boston. Affordable housing isn't the only reason why we can expect people to move here. For example, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is considering moving to an available site here.
Northeastern University is considering building student housing here, as well. When Blue Hill Avenue is upgraded, the area will have better bus service connecting it to the rest of Boston. Furthermore, Roxbury is slated for rapid development. For example, there are several opportunity zones here.
The biggest ones are near Ruggles and Roxbury Crossing. Note that the same trends are driving up rents and property values in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester, though we predict the greatest gains near the Nubian Square developments.
East Boston was once a cheap neighborhood because it was so close to the airport and factories. East Boston is in the middle of a building boom, as the old industrial waterfront gains office buildings and codon towers. Yet it has room for massive expansion thanks to the potential at Suffolk Downs.
This will create an explosion of new development, though demand for these properties will be weak for the next few months. This influx of new development is why the area has seen only 105 percent appreciation over the past 5 years. These properties would be right off the Blue Line. Expect property values to skyrocket once there is regular public transit in the area.
East Boston is in sharp contrast to the slowly gentrifying South End, as young white professionals move into the area, driving up rents and property prices until they move somewhere else.
But it is attracting people who snap up 800 square foot condos that may yet cost less than half a million dollars. Others snap up the new luxury apartments at Jeffries Point, because of its views of downtown Boston. Note that the area is connected to mainland Boston through the Sumner Tunnel.
Fort Point is a Seaport neighborhood. However, it is in the process of becoming a life sciences hub. Construction could turn the mostly vacated General Electric headquarters building into a life sciences campus. GE has moved its headquarters into one of the remaining buildings.
A former Proctor and Gamble Building is going to become another life sciences building. Expect rents in the area to rise along with the increasing average income in the area. Furthermore, the area is going to gentrify as new mixed-use projects that were recently approved are built. They won't just be on the waterfront anymore. They'll have several new parks, as well.
Here are the ten neighborhoods in Boston having the highest real estate appreciation rates since 2000—List by Neigborhoodscout.com.
- Columbus Ave / Washington St
- Chelsea St / Meridian St
- Border St / Central Sq
- Barnes Ave / Benner St
- Terminal D / Terminal E
- Jeffries Point
- Bremen St / Marion St
- William F Mcclellan Hwy / Addison St
- Mckay Pl / Maverick St
- Border St / Condor St
Buying or selling real estate, for a majority of investors, is one of the most important decisions they will make. Choosing a real estate professional/counselor continues to be a vital part of this process. They are well-informed about critical factors that affect your specific market areas, such as changes in market conditions, market forecasts, consumer attitudes, best locations, timing, and interest rates.
NORADA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS has extensive experience investing in turnkey real estate and cash-flow properties. We strive to set the standard for our industry and inspire others by raising the bar on providing exceptional real estate investment opportunities in many other growth markets in the United States. We can help you succeed by minimizing risk and maximizing the profitability of your investment property in Boston.
Consult with one of the investment counselors who can help build you a custom portfolio of Boston investment properties. Depending upon the availability, we can help you to find “Cash-Flow Rental Properties” located in some of the best neighborhoods of Boston.
Not just limited to Boston or Massachusetts but you can also invest in some of the hottest real estate markets for rental properties in the United States. Apart from the Boston real estate market, you can also invest in Jersey, City. The Jersey City housing market is seeing significant growth because it is close to New York City but isn’t NYC. It has several points in its favor, too, like a good job market and local amenities.
Renters and buyers alike are taking notice and helping to make Jersey City the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state. Jersey City has been busy redeveloping old neighborhoods, encouraging a mix of new retail, luxury housing, and affordable housing. Jersey City is notable for the major redevelopment on the waterfront, known as the Shore, while properties there enjoy a great view of Manhattan.
Jersey City takes things one step further and is setting up a “Friendly Building Program”, where developers build entire buildings were renting through AirBnB is allowed. This is an innovative development in the Jersey City housing market. All you have to do is fill up this form and schedule a consultation at your convenience. We’re standing by to help you take the guesswork out of real estate investing. By researching and structuring complete Boston turnkey real estate investments, we help you succeed by minimizing risk and maximizing profitability.
Let us know which real estate markets in the United States you consider best for real estate investing!
Please do not make any real estate or financial decisions based solely on the information found within this article. Some of the information contained in this article was pulled from third-party sites mentioned under references. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Norada Real Estate Investments makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees, either express or implied, as to whether the information presented is accurate, reliable, or current. All information presented should be independently verified through the references given below. As a general policy, Norada Real Estate Investments makes no claims or assertions about the future housing market conditions across the US. This article aimed to educate investors who are keen to invest in Boston real estate. Purchasing an investment property requires a lot of study, planning, and budgeting. Not all deals are solid investments. We always recommend doing your research and take the help of a real estate investment counselor.
Market Data, Reports & Forecasts
Landlord friendly & Rental Statistics
Reasons to Invest
The Best Neighborhoods for Boston Real Estate Investment